On Saturday, January 12, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery opened the new year with their first group show featuring new works from Canadian artist Krista Huot, Korean painter Jang Koal, New York-based artist from China, Tina Yu, and Los Angeles-based artist Lauren YS in Gallery 2. 

Jang Koals new show, entitled Velvet Heart, is her visual expression in describing the mixed and sometimes complex emotions we all feel on a day-to-day basis. Koal shares, “I’ve been visualizing my personal familiarity with my emotions. Emotions are generally divided into broad categories, such as: sadness, anger, happiness, etc. But there are more specific words that can be used when describing feelings of guilt, abandonment, despair, depression, loneliness, boredom, etc. So, I’ve thought about what emotions I’m feeling when, for example, I’m feeling sad and how that feeling could actually be anger, or a mix of emotions. It can be hard to express your feelings if you don’t have the vocabulary to describe how you feel. So, I wanted to express those mixed emotions visually.”

Krista Huot’s enchanting new series, entitled Lumen Naturae, is inspired by storybook illustration, folk art, animation and kitsch. Her paintings explore the emotional relevance of archetypes in folklore.

Huot shares:The Lumen Naturae is an alchemical concept that teaches that there is a divine light embedded within nature, which will always be present no matter how dark it may become. Darkness cannot exist without light, as there must be light in order to perceive darkness. Light cannot exist without shadow. It is in the balancing and integration of these two opposing forces that we achieve wholeness and enlightenment. Esoteric law teaches As Above, So Below. We see this play out in the world around us, an example being when we observe the orbit of planets around our sun, as well as on a subatomic level, with the circulation of electrons around a nucleus. However, the reverse is also true: As Below, So Above. Humanity has found itself in a dark age. By completing the inner work necessary to enlighten and transform our consciousness, we free our own divine spark of spirit and we help do our part to free the light of the collective. If enough individuals on our planet were to complete this Great Work, we would create an evolution within our species. With this new body of work, I am exploring the alchemical transmutation from darkness to light. I am depicting traditional esoteric symbolism using a storybook aesthetic, in order to communicate this narrative.”

Lauren YS’new show, entitled Miscreants, brings to life imagined characters from her world who inhabit the desires, challenges and ideals of the contemporary young femme as the artist sees them -- often a strange balance between beauty and darkness, creepy and cute. These paintings depict chimerical, nymph-like characters getting into mischief, being productive, and grappling with real-life afflictions through a fantastical lens. In "To the Races," a nymph-girl flies from the voting booth on the back of a bat (sporting an "I Voted" sticker). In "Crossing Off," one of YS’ characters perches on object resembling a Japanese daruma, whose eye she has crossed out with a knife. A daruma is bought with only one eye, and the buyer makes a resolution--when they have fulfilled that resolution, one is meant to cross out the other eye. This painting is representative of productivity and self-sufficiency. In "Poison Pick," a character with one breast rides the back of a glowing scorpion through a ring of flames. It's commonly said that if scorpions are threatened by fire, they will sting themselves to escape burning. This painting was made while the artist was caring for a friend whose breast was removed because of breast cancer--this visual metaphor is meant to symbolize choosing an evil in order to avoid a greater one; a visual metaphor for picking one's poison.

In her new show, entitled 动物世界 Animal World, Tina Yu wants the viewer to ask themselves,What have we done to our planet and to the animal kingdom?” She explains: “Over the years, not only are we slowing destroying our beautiful planet with pollution, which has a significant impact on a lot of species, but we’re also exploiting animals for fashion, cosmetics, and entertainment.

Through this show, I want to raise awareness and open people's eyes to animal cruelty. Animals can't speak for themselves, so we need to be their voices. Don't forget we ARE animals. 

I've always believed that animals are the purest spirits on this planet and I dress them in lolita style outfit to represent their innocence. The storyline behind my pieces are the animals who died -- from being hunted, abandoned, tortured, starved, tested on for cosmetics, and forced to entertain -- come back to life as zombies and monsters to protect their species and seek revenge on those who made them suffer.”